Euro Online Casinos
While the EU normally requires that countries open up their markets to each other, where an online casino that is licensed and regulated in one country should be able to accept players from any other EU country, it hasn’t worked out that way in practice, in spite of what the European Commission may want.
This has led to a lot of players being confused into thinking that they are limited to online casino sites that are licensed in their own country, and in some countries, this can mean just one site to play at, or even none. Players more in the know aren’t constrained by these beliefs though, as your choices may not be so limited.
There may be some other places out there, sometimes of a higher quality than the standard fare, but if you don’t know to look, you won’t find them for sure. We want our players to have the maximum number of sites to choose from, which is the only way to ever play at the best sites you can, as well as pointing you toward which of these choices would be best, which happens to be what we do here.
How European Regulation is Supposed to Work
Online casino gambling is not supposed to be treated any differently from any other sort of commerce in the EU, in theory anyway, where if an online casino is licensed in any EU jurisdiction, that is sufficient for anyone in the EU to be permitted to play there, just as if it were licensed in their particularly country of residence.
However, the approaches that different European countries have taken to licensing and regulating online gambling have moved in different directions, where they may wish to ignore the desires of the European Commission and seek to make their own rules. France, for instance, has chosen to license other forms of online gambling but not casino games.
Sweden does license casino sites, or at least a casino site, the government owned one that is, Svenska Spel. Several countries like Spain, Germany, and Italy license online casinos themselves but provide a wider selection, including some well-known names.
The European Court of Justice has stepped in at various times to get some of its member countries to comply more with the principles of the European Union, but issuing a ruling and getting countries to comply with them can be two separate things.
Instead of a common regulatory body that applies to the entirety of the EU, or even a country licensing online casinos themselves, but needing to include sites licensed in other EU countries, what we have instead is a patchwork of regulation that can differ considerably from country to country.
The result of this has been to have the licensing body of countries satisfy the demand of their online casino loving residents to various degrees. If you live in France, you have to look outside of French licensure to be able to play. If you live in Sweden and want to play at a site other than Svenska Spel, you need to look at sites licensed outside of Sweden.
If you are in another country that doesn’t quite offer what you want, or if you just find a site you prefer that isn’t licensed by your country, but they accept players from where you live, you’re going to have to play at sites that aren’t approved by your own country.
Your particular country would prefer that you only play at sites that they license, since they want a cut of your play as well as want to collect more from the sites they license, and they don’t want these fees to go into someone else’s pocket. However, what they want and what they get aren’t always the same thing, and many players step outside their framework and exercise their ability to choose in spite of what their government may want.
Playing Within Your National Regulatory Framework
This is not to suggest that the licensure and regulation of online casino gambling is too restrictive in all European countries, as some countries, like Denmark, have managed to put together a scheme that actually allows players to play at any EU licensed casino, but have arranged with the operators to allow them to tax Danish players the same way as if this were cordoned off.
This battle always comes down to governments seeking to collect the revenue that they desire from online casino play, and without licensure, they don’t collect any. If they use a more restrictive approach, they will collect a cut of some of the action, but only that which occurs at their licensed sites. Those who choose to play outside the scheme will be excluded, not excluded from playing, but excluded from the country’s ability to collect from it.
The list of sites that Europeans can play casino games at is not limited to those sites licensed in their country of residence or even by those licensed in the EU. Countries aren’t going to be forthcoming about this and will tell their people that they are only allowed to gamble at the online sites that they say that the players can play at, and many are persuaded, although their usage of “allowed” isn’t defined, that it only means that this is a preference of theirs.
If players find the officially approved online casino sites suitable or just don’t know any better, they can happily play on these sites for years, if the choices are decent enough. This does not mean that these players should not be at least checking out what else may be out there, who else may allow them to play on their sites, and if you are allowed by them, you are allowed.
France Doesn’t “Allow” Any of This, Yet French Online Casino Players Play On
France is actually a great example as far as showing what the limits are as far as a country not allowing residents to play at sites regulated in other jurisdictions, since they just don’t allow this at all.
France just doesn’t tell their people not to play casino games at these sites licensed outside of France, and since there are none licensed in France that means all of them, they actively have internet providers in their country block these online casino sites.
That’s nowhere near effective enough, as players merely have to connect to their favorite casino sites through a virtual private network, or VPN. While your internet provider may be able to block you from visiting these sites without a VPN, what a VPN serves to do is to take wherever you go once you log into the network outside the prying eyes of your internet provider and the government.
The only thing you need to worry about at this point is finding sites that will take players from your country, as well as needing to make sure that you actually pick good ones and not ones that are of a lesser quality than the good ones that you are hoping to play at. This is where we come in, to help you not only understand how you can get around these roadblocks, but to travel down the right road once you skip past them.
The Real List is Always Longer than the One Governments Pass Out
This same method can be used in any case where there is somewhere that you want to play at and they will take you but aren’t on the list of official sites that are permitted by your national regulatory framework.
You may or may not need to connect to your favorite sites by way of a VPN, as if a site isn’t blocked by your internet provider, there is no need to, although some players just feel more comfortable doing it that way and enjoy the privacy that VPNs provide. Many people use VPNs generally for that reason, and they are also widely used when connecting for work due to the additional security and protection from hacking that they provide.
Not even the most aggressive countries are able to go after people based upon their browsing histories, as this is far too impractical even though a few countries elsewhere in the world have considered this. Even with the harshest of laws against online gambling, they still have to be enforceable, and no one has been able to successfully enforce anti-online gambling laws, as this is far different than breaking up an illegal land-based casino.
While there are some advantages to playing at an online casino that is licensed and regulated by your country, there are many fine regulating bodies elsewhere that aspire to the same high standards and can be counted on to exclude the kind of online casino sites that we wish excluded.
Some of the highest regarded regulating bodies in the world are located within Europe, although Europeans don’t just want to stick with those and if a great site happens to be regulated outside of Europe, and the regulator is a good one as well, where it is located does not even matter.
Playing at European Online Casinos
The best choice for you may very well be at an online casino that is licensed in your own country, but we just don’t want to assume that it is and we do want to be on the lookout for what may be best for us based upon what actually is best and not just assumed to be without proper diligence.
As it turns out, if we are looking to go off the grid so to speak, this actually is going to have us needing to look outside of Europe often times, but not always. The EU actually explicitly allows EU residents to play at any EU licensed online casino, and may even be fighting on your behalf to try to get your country to open up more, but online casinos often take a more conservative approach and may not accept your business anyway.
There are plenty of good sites that will take your business regardless and don’t care which country you live in, and don’t have any association with European gambling at all, but you really should not be foraging off on your own without much of an idea about what you are doing, because you may indeed end up in the wrong places and be sorry, just like you might wandering through a city and not knowing where the better casinos are located.
Your inquisitiveness to ensure you are getting the most out of your online casino play, together with our extensive knowledge of where the best places to play are, add up to a great combination. We only recommend the really good ones, and all you have to do is select the ones that will also take players from where you live and then get ready for the best casino gambling the online world has to offer you.
Euro Online Casinos FAQ
- Why do rules about online gambling differ so much in Europe?
While the European Union standardizes access to markets among its member countries, when it comes to online gambling, European countries have chosen to go in several different directions when it comes to regulating online casinos and other forms of gambling online. In an ideal world, we’d see a common regulatory body, but several countries have strongly resisted and we’re left with the patchwork solution that we now have.
- Why do some countries insist on making their own rules about this?
Unlike some areas of the world, Europe takes a more liberal and progressive view of gambling in general, and this has been the case as well when it comes to online gambling. In an effort to try to capture the potential tax revenue that had been flowing out of these countries prior to regulation, it just was easier to do that by taking a ring-fenced approach. It really comes down to countries wanting to keep the tax revenues that this generates for themselves.
- How well can countries limit people to gamble on their approved sites?
In the physical world, it’s much easier to regulate commerce within a country, even though if approved means of doing business falls short, black markets will step in to pick up the slack. In the online world, while regulators do their best to get people to believe that they are the only legitimate option, there’s little they can do to stop the people who aren’t satisfied with the official choices and find better elsewhere.
- Why can’t the EU just force countries to adopt a common approach to this?
Online commerce is quite a bit trickier to manage than face to face commerce to start with, and this is especially the case with cross-border shopping online. It actually still wouldn’t be that difficult to have a common European regulating body and still have each country get the cut that they seek from the players in their own country, and we see this happening already in some countries, but old ideas die hard and there is considerable resistance to this.
- Isn’t it a lot safer to play on the sites regulated by my own country?
Provided that the sites you play at are regulated by a reputable body, and the sites themselves are also reputable, issues that would require the intervention of a regulator are exceedingly rare, and there have only been a few incidents arise in the history of online gambling actually. Online gambling is basically self-regulating, where the speed and penetration of the way information travels over it will in itself regulate the behavior of operators.
- Can players in France still gamble at online casinos?
Even though France allows several types of online gambling, including poker and sports betting, their regulations do not allow casino gambling, perhaps due to the lobbying power of their land-based casino industry. They are missing out though because players just play on sites regulated in other countries. Whenever there is a gap in supply, either too little quantity or quality, the market will seek to fill that gap, whether in a way that is approved or not.
- Are there additional benefits to playing at approved sites?
There is nothing really special about playing at an online casino that is domestically regulated over one that is regulated elsewhere, although in some cases it may be easier for you to move money in and out of domestic sites if authorities seek to use their power to limit access to certain payment methods. Any advantages need to be weighed against any competitive inferiority that these sites may be burdened with, to decide what the best choice may be overall.
- Do players need to worry about playing at internationally regulated online casinos?
In some countries, the battleground is actually at the personal level, where the focus is to prevent people from gambling. The battle in Europe is at the regulatory level, where governments allow or prohibit operators from doing business with their residents. Even when they block sites, they are blocking the sites from attracting our business, they aren’t going after players. There are no practical legal consequences to the player with these attempts.
- How important is it to be aware of what the other options may be?
Playing the lottery is the most popular form of gambling there is, in spite of lotteries having the worst odds out there by far. It’s been made so easy though that people just do it and don’t think much about these things. Online casino players may think that they are more sophisticated, but may not have shopped around much either. The only way that we will ever know if we are playing at a good site is to compare with what else is out there.
- How confident can we be in the recommendations on this site?
In order to make the right choice with anything, we need to be as free of the wrong kind of bias as possible. The government will be extremely biased toward their approved sites, and sites themselves are of course biased toward their own interests as well. We provide independent and unbiased advice to our readers, where all the competing interests are set aside and your interests and ours become aligned, for you to get the most out of your online casino play.
Geoff Morgan, Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.